Merlin Series 5 Review “The Disir” — In Which Arthur Has Been Weighed, Measured and Found Wanting

In this week’s Merlin, Arthur had to face the Court of ‘The Disir’, three Macbeth-like witches who pass on a judgement supposedly cast by the triple goddess, the figurehead of the Old Religion. To be a truly fair king, and to ensure the survival of Camelot, Arthur must accept the Old Religion back into his kingdom.

His hand is being forced somewhat by Mordred, or more specifically an injured Mordred, who only the Disir can save. If Arthur agrees to allow magic back into Camelot, Mordred will presumably live. If Arthur rejects magic, Mordred will presumably die.

Counting on the latter being true, Merlin does something quite shocking. At the perfect moment for a magic reveal, when Arthur is actively seeking Merlin’s thoughts on whether or not he should allow magic back into Camelot, Merlin instead announces that magic has no place in Camelot. Merlin assumes that the Disir will refuse to save Mordred because of this decision, thereby ending the future threat to Arthur’s life, but instead they return to Camelot to find Mordred alive and well…

Dear readers, there are times when I watch Merlin and despair. There have been many perfect moments for a magic reveal over the past couple series, but this was the most perfect. All Merlin had to do was say three little words: ‘I have magic’.

The reason for Merlin not advising Arthur to accept the Old Religion into Camelot (sidenote: yay for Merlin getting to advise again) was that Mordred would die, which is my biggest issue with this episode. The Disir said that the future of Camelot rests on whether or not the Old Religion is accepted back, and Merlin was willing to risk Camelot to save Arthur from a single threat: Mordred. But right now Mordred isn’t even a threat.

In fact, it would be laughably easy for Merlin to kill Mordred himself right now. When the knights were hazing Mordred, or in training practise, Merlin could have caused Mordred to die in ‘an accident’. How hard would it be for him to trip Mordred up, break his neck and blame it on the fall? Or have him fall onto a weapon? There are so many ways in which Merlin could kill Mordred himself and not risk Camelot.

I don’t want to hate on Merlin because I usually adore him, but it’s frustrating. Not getting a magic reveal is one thing — not getting a reveal because Merlin apparently doesn’t want to do the dirty work and get Mordred out of the picture himself is another thing entirely. It completely overshadowed what was otherwise a really good episode for me. I really wish it hadn’t.

A few other things this week:

– Arthur. I love Arthur’s growth, and though he seemed to slide backward a bit with his brief show of arrogance, he did make up for it in spades in the rest of the episode. He’s really growing as a king; I was hoping that he would agree to bring the Old Religion back against Merlin’s advise, just to shake things up a bit. Oh, well.
– Gwaine. Poor Gwaine, he of the multiple head injuries. Sooner or later, he’s just going to be a drooling mess in Gauis’ chambers. Someone get that boy a helmet, stat!
– The hazing. The knights and Arthur hazing Mordred was hilarious. Poor boy.

What did you think of ‘The Disir’, dear reader? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!